GAA Football

'Pay-per-view TV motions won't go away' - Leitrim chief Terence Boyle

Leitrim chief Terence Boyle says the GAA's pay-per-view deals with Sky and Eir will be revisited

LEITRIM chairman Terence Boyle says the thorny issue of the GAA’s pay-per-view subscription deals “won’t be going away” despite their motion not reaching the floor of Congress later this month.

Similar moves from Roscommon and Clare also fell short so there won’t be any discussion relating to the Sky and Eir deals in Dublin on February 23/24.

The Leitrim chief was unsurprised that his county’s motion won’t be debated as the contracts with the pay-per-view stations had only been recently extended.

“At our own convention it was passed, but I knew it would more than likely not reach the floor of Congress because of the deal [with Sky & Eir] was only made last year.

“So a few years down the road it will come up again. It’s something that’s not going to go away because the feeling [against GAA pay walls] seems to be strong across the country.”

Boyle added: “We wanted the matches not to be exclusive to Sky.”

Both Sky and Eir deals lapse in 2021.

The GAA first signed a deal with Sky in 2014.

Since then, the satellite channel has had exclusive rights to two out of four All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals and are almost certain to get a similar slice of the Super 8s cake, although no announcement has been made on which channels will be showing the quarter-final round-robin games.

In 2016, a similar motion was tabled by St Joseph’s Boys club, Dublin that argued games should be free-to-air, but it was roundly defeated (85 to 15).

Consequently, a similar motion is not permitted on the clár for the next three years unless the Management Committee deems it “exceptional circumstances”.

“I’d presume it’ll be a year or two before that actually comes up because the contract is done and dusted so it’ll probably be discussed further down the road.”

Joe Brolly, Michael Duignan and Paul Rouse recently set up an online petition urging the GAA to steer away from privatising its games.

Up until yesterday, 2,000 people signed the petition, with 1,763 agreeing with the thrust of their anti-pay-per-view campaign.

In an interview with The Irish News last August, former Meath footballer Colm O’Rourke predicted the GAA’s alliance with Sky would eventually be reversed.

“If Sky said: ‘We’ll give you €50m and we’re going to show 20 games.’ I’d say: ‘Fine’.

“Then every club in the country should get €100,000 or €200,000… But none of the money from the Sky deal seems to have filtered down to clubs. So what’s it all about? I think the idea of selling the games to a pay-per-view channel is entirely wrong. And it is against all the principles the GAA ever stood for.”

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